Any invitation that features the words ‘Celebration of the Pig’ is going to get my attention. And so it is that we found ourselves at the De Bortoli winery in the Yarra Valley last night, indulging in the pleasures of pork.
The De Bortoli family has been following the age-old Italian tradition of making their own salami and prosciutto for generations – and this year they decided to share their spoils with the public, along with yet-to-be-released wines straight from the barrel. And boy are we glad they did.
In the makeshift barn, decked out with hay bales and wine barrels, we kicked off with canapés of saffron arancini and cured trout from the Locale kitchen and head chef Adam Mead, paired with De Bortoli Rococo, a crisp, easy-drinking blanc de blanc that might just become my new go-to sparkling for summer.
We then settled in for platters of antipasti, including the family’s own blush-pink prosciutto and ruby-hued salami, plus rustic pork terrine, jamon, olives and hand-rolled grissini. Carafes of 2014 La Boheme Pinot Gris & Friends and La Boheme Pinot Noir Rosé were plonked down on the table, echoing winemaker Steve Webber’s words that “wine is just a beverage, after all… we shouldn’t take it too seriously”. The textural white and savoury rosé worked a treat with the rich, mouth-coating fats of the meats.
Next, huge plates of suckling pig, rosemary-flecked potatoes and salad greens filled the tables, along with carafes of the 2013 Bella Riva Sangiovese, the perfect foil for the hunks of tender pork, burnished crackling and braised lentils. We skipped dessert in favour of the cheese platter, a creamy Le Dauphin, gorgonzola dolce and Heidi raclette, with candied walnuts, pears and semolina flatbread. I knocked back a quick espresso, but still managed to fall asleep in the car on the way home. Yes, that pig sure knows how to party.